Get expert advice delivered straight to your inbox.

Skip to Main Content

Is Going to the Movies Worth It?

If you’re a lover of the cinema, how many flicks have you seen in a movie theater this last year? And was it really worth it? The shining glow of the big screen, the thrill of the surround sound, reclining seats, and oh, the popcorn. Going to the movies has become quite the experience these days, and the strain on your box office budget might be making that painfully clear.

Movie ticket prices hit an all-time high in 2019, with the average ticket price at $9.16.1 According to a study by ValuePenguin, if you’re in a metropolitan area like New York City, your average ticket price is more like $14!2 Factor in food, drinks, and other viewing options—such as 3-D or Imax—and the cost of seeing a new release can bust any box office budget. And that’s not even including the price for having a sitter watch the kids while you’re gone for three hours. Sheesh! Is your movie theater trip really worth 75 to 100 bucks?

Box Office Alternatives

If you just realized you’re spending a little bit too much on your box office budget, there’s good news. You don’t have to cut out the spending completely! Get creative and see what other budget friendly entertainment is available. Here are a couple of ideas:

Have a movie night at home

With streaming services like Netflix, HBO On Demand, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and more, it’s becoming easier and way cheaper to spend a quiet night at home instead of paying for a movie that may or may not end up being any good. And if you simply must see one of this year’s biggest blockbusters, you can always rent it from Redbox a few months after it comes out in the theater. Think about how much you could save by dropping the kids off at a friend’s house, making some snacks, and having a quiet night watching a movie from the comfort of your own couch. And yes, opening a pint of ice cream and lounging in your sweatpants is totally appropriate.

See retro movies at the theater

Is there a cinema near you showing films from last summer for a buck or two? Or maybe the local theater is having an ’80s-themed night with the flicks and prices to match. These kinds of places give you the opportunity to see a movie without spending all your money.

So How Much Should Your Box Office Budget Be?

It’s totally fine to buy a movie ticket to see the latest action thriller or romantic comedy if that’s what you enjoy! If you want to see the latest and greatest movie, just be sure to do your research. You’ll thank us later. Check out Rotten Tomatoes to see what other moviegoers are saying about the flick you’re thinking of seeing. Most of all, make sure your box office budget doesn’t put a strain on the rest of your budget. Ask yourself if the movie is really worth your time and money. We recommend keeping your entertainment spending to 5% of your total budget.

Keeping your entertainment spending in check is key to having a good time without derailing your budget. Make a plan and spend within your means. It’s a surefire way for you and your money to have that happy Hollywood ending!

EveryDollar is a free online tool to help you keep track of your budget and spending anywhere, anytime. Check out all the helpful features, including the app!

Did you find this article helpful? Share it!

Ramsey Solutions

About the author


Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

Related Articles

best streaming services for your budget

Best Streaming Services for Your Budget

Streaming makes it easy to watch your favorite shows and movies. Anytime. Anywhere. But there are so many options to pick from. What are the best streaming services for your budget? Let’s find out!

Ramsey Ramsey